Rui Retagi – making an impact in the developing world
I am a Project & Construction Manager with more than 16 years of experience in the Oil & Gas and Mining industries. Over the past 10 years, I have successfully delivered major infrastructure projects within these sectors. During my career, I have had the opportunity to work in more than 10 countries and 5 continents, which has given me a multi-cultural and multi-dimensional perspective of the world.
THE MAJOR IN ENERGY
I come from underdeveloped country and I have also worked in many underdeveloped countries. This has enabled me to understand that the common denominator hampering their development is the lack of access to energy. I therefore wanted to find a way to leverage these markets and create an impact.
I chose this Major because it provided a 360 overview of the future of the energy sector. In other words, it gave insights into the current and future status of the industry as well as the impact on mechanisms, systems, processes, and governance. With climate change affecting the sector as whole, I wanted to know more about how this issue is shaping decision-making and business models and the opportunities it can open up in the developing world.
The two locations were perfectly chosen for the topics that we addressed. In Doha, we began with an introduction to the geo-economy and geo-politics of the energy sector, and focused on how carbon emissions are shaping the business decisions in the sector. This location is the hub of major world gas producers, which made the topics presented in class and the different company visits particularly relevant.
The week in Berlin provided us with a view of how new business models are affecting the energy sector and how they are affecting the developing world. This has helped me understand how we can develop a more sustainable environment while implementing disruptive business models, even if they come from the developing world. This was an eye-opening experience as it inspired me to explore a potential entrepreneurial venture within the sector.
EXPERIENCE OF THE PROGRAM
The Major was an amazing experience. I already had an idea of the range of issues that would be covered, but the way they were presented went beyond my expectations. The hands-on exercises provided real-time exposure to the complexity that Senior Managers and CEOs face when making decisions that affect the bottom-line of a company and the value chain of the sector. They also provided the different technical, tactical, and soft skills you need to implement them effectively.
The quality of the teaching, combined with the international dimension of the program, was definitely an asset. The extensive knowledge and the quality of the presentations by Professor Andrea Masini, the passionate lectures by Professor Jean-Michel Gauthier and the handpicked guest speakers, made each of the sessions memorable.
The diversity and multiculturalism of the class was amazing, with participants not only from the Oil & Gas industries, but also from Finance, Manufacturing, Services and Automotive industries as well. This provided a unique way to address differences when exploring the complex topics within the Major. It also offered valuable networking opportunities. I now know who I can contact for advice on issues concerning each stage of the value chain within the sector.
The experience has changed me in many ways. The Major has given me the skills and confidence to take on more senior roles and to grow within the industry. I can also see myself venturing onto an entrepreneurial path within the sector. With renewable energy becoming more affordable and the impact of digitalization, I can see possibilities to create value in African markets and the developing world.
For me, one key takeaway was the financial dimension. That is to say, the different types of pricing strategies to source and produce electricity, financial analysis, and using different business models to create value.
The 4 D’s (decentralization, decarbonization, digitalization and democratization) of the sector were also a major takeaway. The active role that “prosumers” now play in providing electricity has made me think of potential entrepreneurial opportunities.
Another key takeaway was the soft skills. The focus on self-awareness, leadership problem solving and teamwork during the two sessions all had an impact on me. These are vital skills for executives in an environment as unpredictable as the energy sector.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
In the short to mid-term, I see my career evolving within the industry, in a more senior role such as Vice President where I could apply the knowledge I have acquired from the EMBA and the Major.
In the long term, I would like to invest in business models that use Solar PVs and that capitalize on innovative digital tools to create services that can be used in the developing world. My goal is to combine my experience within the sector and the network I have acquired at HEC Paris to leverage value creation and the implementation process.
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